The NSW Branch of the TWU is demanding an immediate end to the ambiguity and confusion caused by the NSW Government and Service NSW when it comes to the issuing of Covid-19 NSW Border Declaration Permits.
These permits are required by Transport Workers who are engaging in a critical service driving freight across the NSW / Victorian border.
Operators and Drivers are being issued with permit notices stating “you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in NSW” which contradicts the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020 issued by Minister Brad Hazzard under the NSW Public Health Legislation.
The TWU is demanding that the NSW Government consider the unintended consequences for drivers when they produce permit documents without due reference to the active legislation.
The legislation in both States outlines that drivers are able to provide the critical services they do and are only required to isolate whilst in the midst of those critical services, for example, sleep in the cabin of their truck or in a hotel room, maintaining social isolation guidelines and then driving.
We have seen confusion, anxiety and angst amongst our membership as they scramble to keep up with the ambiguous, ongoing changes to border crossing rules. Drivers are already under pressure, with the squeeze on the transport industry as a critical service.
Drivers in NSW or Victoria do not at this time need to second guess the NSW Government who have not adequately completed their due diligence on permits.
The consequences are that thousands of trucks are likely to be required to pull up on the side of the road in the south of the State creating significant safety issues if the government do not clear this issue up.
The NSW Government need to consider that truck drivers are providing an essential critical service during this pandemic. They are delivering food, fuel and medicines. They are keeping the economy and businesses open by distributing goods across Australia. To have a significant number of trucks out of commission, a lack of toilet paper will be the least of problems faced by members of the public.
The TWU’s NSW and Victorian Branch Secretaries wrote to the NSW Premier yesterday seeking assurances on continual access to roadhouses for truck drivers.
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